Long before DLC become a regular part of our gaming lives, Nintendo broke new ground with its Satellaview service for the Super Famicom. Using satellite broadcasts, this system allowed players to download and store games on special rewritable BS-X memory packs – and preserving these titles has become a serious endeavour for many fans, because they were never granted official physical releases and are in danger of being lost forever.
One such preservationist goes by the name Porthgeidwad, and they've put up a bounty of a selection of tracks for Satellaview BS F-Zero Gran Prix 2, a Satellaview-exclusive sequel to the original F-Zero: Forest I, Forest II, Forest III, Metal Fort I and Metal Fort II. These tracks were broadcast weekly, with Forest I and Forest II coming in Week 1 and Week 2 containing Forest III, Metal Fort I and Metal Fort II.
Anyone who can find all of these tracks will be rewarded with $5,000 USD, with half of the amount coming from Porthgeidwad and the other from "another user who currently wishes to remain anonymous". The aim is to get the tracks either on a physical BS-X memory pack or a ROM dump:
These ROMs come from BS-X memory packs. The strange thing is that for F-Zero on the Satellaview is that it's under a different than normal file type called "soundlink". These on first appearance on the cart when turned on don't display/play this file type, so the only way to know if it's there is to dump the information from the BS-X packs and view them on a PC.
As noted by Porthgeidwad, time is of the essence here, as BS-X memory packs have a finite lifespan:
BS-X memory packs are known to suffer from data degradation (the so-called "bit rot") and that if they aren't dumped by now, there's a chance they might have gone bad. More like a lottery at this point. If you do have a BS-X cart lying around with seemingly nothing on it, dump the information and see if it contains anything.
If you have any BS-X packs lying around that you haven't properly investigated yet, now's the time.
Some people have more money than sense, he should put that into pokemon cards instead.
These belong in a museum…I’ll see what I can do( adjusts hat and cracks whip)
i think LuigiBlood was looking for stuff like these as well but he might have just retweeted about them, regardless, the more BSX stuff is saved the better (evidently this summoned him)
It is a lottery even before we even get to see if the data is corrupted or not because just even finding it on a Memory Pack you still have to dump it to find out since BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 is a soundlink game and is therefore invisible in menus.
Satellaview preservation has been this way for a while: Buy a bunch of Memory Packs and hope it has something interesting in it even if the seller says it's empty (which it may not be because you cannot trust menus).
Guys I think I found the lost track!!!!1¡‽
Early last year, an entire unreleased game was salvaged from a BS-X memory pack; Cooly Skunk.
Only distributed maybe one time via the Satellaview service, the memory pak still holding that data was bought and successfully backed up. It wasn't a soundlink game so it would have remained playable as long as you didn't wipe the data.
Dumping rewritable cartridges can produce some very interesting results too.
An overdump of an F-Zero X development cartridge unearthed some very early Ocarina of Time development data, short of a complete ROM file but enough to reconstruct a working ROM based on the retail release.
And a dump of an SA-1 development board discovered some early assets for Marvelous: Mōhitotsu no Takarajima (Another Island Adventure).
Just reading the first paragraph of this article is EXACTLY why I don't like downloads and always try and get physicals
After all the furore over the Mario 35th games only being available for 6 months it's amusing to know Nintendo once released games that were playable only for 1 week (if you had the correct hardware, a subscription, and lived in Japan)
@chardir Satellaview had no subscription, it was actually free. The only payment was to buy the equipment to even play (so, satellite antenna, BS Tuner, Satellaview and stuff).
Memory degradation is sadly an unavoidable thing with rewriteable flash memory, especially manufactured that long ago.
Much more recent USB memory sticks go bad just from too frequent rewrites, and such old flash memory technology as BS-X cards is no exception.
I see it likely on a rom dump. In high school I thought there was an Japan exclusive F Zero 2 until I realized it was just a bunch of satellaview tracks. Don’t have roms anymore and the site was taken down though.
@Roam85 There is what's called "BS F-Zero Grand Prix 2 Practice", but this is not it, this was just to practice tracks that were originally exclusive to BS F-Zero Grand Prix 1 (all dumped).
They're looking for real deal, the main broadcasts of Grand Prix 2 (which was in 2 parts).
Game preservation is so important and unfortunately we can’t trust Nintendo to take it seriously.
Good luck and well done to these guys for trying
Digital Foundry did a really good deep dive into the whole FZero franchise.
Well worth the watch if you're a fan of the games.
Nintendo's game and asset preservation practices might be much better than we are aware of, whatever they do have they likely keep in archival, possibly to never be released to the public again.
In things like the "Gigaleak", assets like full-resolution graphics for various inventory graphics from Ocarina of Time were discovered, and uncompressed voice clips from Star Fox 64.
Weren't they already dumped? I'm confused...
One of my favourite games ever. I'd love to play these.
I am 100% sure that Nintendo keeps a backup somewhere, I won't be surprised if Mr Miyamoto ends up coming out to get the bounty.
@RupeeClock yeah but they might as well be in my sock drawer if no one can get at them. No need to hide games away they don’t degrade if you let people play them…..
@HotGoomba such incredible, mind blowing, and unbelievable track design, it’s baffling that it never made it to the final game
It is often absolutly Luck to come across those Games.
Wasn't it that Skunk Game somebody found in Japan in a Shop that sells old Games?
Love to play those Games on the SD2SNES, as the Zelda Games with Moderation.
Would be actually a great Service, if they would put the BS Games on the Switch online Service.
I don't think Nintendo is storing their own data on things like consumer-grade rewriteable media from the 90s.
@MrSad No you would not. Things were different back then and you would have been no different.
@RupeeClock you missed the point. It’s not playable. Game preservation is more than just know it exists the point is making it playable for the masses.
Yes but to what extent does game preservation fall upon the consumer market?
We can't possibly help to preserve certain things that the company controls like their source code and assets, short of companies relinquishing them in things like liquidation or when going bust.
I only recall watching a video many years ago from some Japanese person who probably recorded an original live broadcast.
All I remember they were able to make the most spectacular F-Zero death I've ever seen.
Satellaview stuff is an endless rabbit hole that may never all be fully preserved.
I think even the involved companies have been contacted at this point, and iirc everyone claims to not have the data anymore.
The 8M memory packs were expensive enough alone, and a memory pack would constantly get overwritten as you played new games, so wasn't exactly simple to preserve things.
Even outside of soundlink stuff, some games were distributed as demos with play limits, after which they'd 'disappear' from the menu.
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